NFV (Network functions virtualization)

Harmonic's 'CableOS' adds more fiber to its diet

As cable operators continue to complement their traditional HFC networks with full fiber-to-the-premises deployments, Harmonic said it has tacked on FTTP capabilities to "CableOS," its virtualized platform for broadband access networks.

Harmonic said the latest version of CableOS adds support for 10G EPON and 10G XGS-PON, noting that the FTTP-facing options are designed to take advantage of CableOS's containerized, cloud-native design.

The vendor's CableOS product and its virtualization efforts initially focused on DOCSIS and the cable modem termination system (CMTS). But the containerized format of the platform allows CableOS to also support PON and the OLT element and run that in parallel on the same platform, explained Asaf Matatyaou, VP of solutions and product management for Harmonic's Cable Edge Business.

Harmonic is also adding FTTP to the CableOS menu as several cable operators -- including Harmonic's marquee customer, Comcast -- continue to deploy fiber-to-the-premises networks in a targeted fashion to operators that require fiber-fed services and in greenfield network buildout scenarios.

Bringing FTTP support to CableOS opens up an opportunity and a new area of growth for Harmonic's platform, and allows MSOs to manage those different access networks using unified operational and provisioning systems, Matatyaou said.

Harmonic has not announced any customers that are using CableOS for their FTTP network and service deployments, but Matatyaou said the vendor has work underway with MSOs in several regions around the globe.

Harmonic said it will demo CableOS with the new remote OLT FTTP options at this week's SCTE/ISBE Cable-Tec Expo in New Orleans.

Harmonic introduced CableOS in the fall of 2016 in a move that enables MSOs to move away from proprietary, purpose-built hardware to a software-based, virtualization platform that runs on off-the-shelf servers. The vendor's cloud-native platform is orchestrated using Kubernetes.

CableOS has given Harmonic a leg up in the emerging cable network virtualization era, allowing the company to elbow its way into a CCAP market that has been led by CommScope/Arris, Cisco Systems and Casa Systems.

In July, Harmonic said it ended Q2 2019 with 16 commercial CableOS deployments using both centralized and distributed cable access network architectures. Harmonic also ended the period with about 780,000 cable modems connected to its CableOS platform, up 16% from Q1 2019.

Earlier this year, Harmonic announced a four-year, $175 million enterprise licensing deal with Comcast centered on CableOS, along with incentives for Comcast to purchase fiber nodes and other network equipment from the vendor.

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— Jeff Baumgartner, Senior Editor, Light Reading

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